Welding Fumes Created by Both Auto Workers and Robots Affect Indoor Air Quality

In the automotive industry, manufacturing is becoming increasingly automated to improve productivity. But the fumes generated during welding operations may endanger auto workers who work around robot welding areas and these welding fumes could also decrease the energy efficiency inside buildings, causing heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to work even harder. However, employing air filtration solutions could help increase energy efficiency and even boost worker productivity to keep operations running smoothly.

Air filtration improves building energy efficiency
Automating product development allows companies to optimize their resources and ensure their facility is producing high-quality products. What could slow down efficiency, however, are the fumes created when the robots weld vehicle components together.

When engineers at a Volvo Trucks facility located in Dublin, Va., started to participate in the Department of Energy’s Save Energy Now LEADER initiative, they noticed its welding and manufacturing processes were consuming a large amount of energy, Assembly Magazine reported. Not only that, the automated welding processes used to assemble vehicles also resulted in oily smoke and fumes gathering inside the facility. Manufacturing facilities could install large fans and ductwork meant to exhaust air outside, but a more effective way of increasing energy efficiency is to use air filters.

“Our system was drawing a lot of make-up air from outside,” said David Jenks, project engineer at Volvo Trucks, according to Assembly Magazine. “Plus, the amount of energy it took to collect and move the dirty air and maintain a comfortable indoor temperature was undermining [our] efforts to become more energy efficient.”

To meet Volvo Trucks’ goal of lowering its manufacturing facility’s energy use by 25 percent over 10 years – which is a target of the DOE program – and improve the plant’s air quality, the company implemented high-efficiency air filters to remove the smoke and fumes emitted during welding operations.

While ventilation systems could help reduce the level of hazardous welding fumes, air filtration systems are more effective as they can not only collect smoke and fumes but also circulate clean air back into the auto manufacturing plant.

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